A top seed and a defending champion seek to avoid the Monday blues at the BDO World Championship.
Thibault Tricole made World Darts Championship history when he became the first French representative; now Gabriel Pascaru carves himself a slice of history for Romania. He could face Richard Veenstra, but Justin Hood will likely be the favourite against the Eastern European qualifier. The Englishman made it to the last 32 of the World Masters and downed former finalist Jeff Smith in the qualifying play-offs.
Another player who fell at the first staged round of the World Masters was Nick Fullwell. The 50-year-old last appeared at a World Darts Championship back in December 2008 – and that was the PDC version. He faces David Cameron, who (hopefully) has arrived with all of his luggage this year. The Canadian accounted for Gary Robson last year, and will want a crack at 14th seed David Evans.
As number one seed, Wesley Harms has a lot of pressure to handle. The lanky Dutchman reached the semi-finals in each of his first two Lakeside visits, but has produced little else since. This represents a big chance for him, but Andreas Harryson will want to keep his Indigo run going. The unfancied Swede just about held off John O’Shea in a low-quality tie; Harms will have seen little to fear.
Miracle out for the double
Andy Hamilton’s been to the O2 Arena before, in slightly different circumstances. The former PDC world finalist was there for the Premier League Darts play-offs; the context is a little less glamorous now, but the Hammer will view this as an important moment in his career. The Stoke ace’s BDO World Darts Championship debut was a poor one, with David Cameron routing him last year. This time he takes on Darren Herewini, who will be high on confidence after dismissing Simon Stainton.
Mikuru Suzuki stunned the Lakeside a year ago by storming to the World Darts Championship title. The Japanese star has since done little of note on the BDO circuit, but played at the Grand Slam and the PDC World Championship, throwing solid mid-80s averages throughout. With all the furore over Fallon Sherrock, it’s forgotten just how close the Miracle came to beating James Richardson. Suzuki will go to Q-School, but will want to be two-time world champion by then. She starts her defence against Maria O’Brien, who beat Deta Hedman and Sherrock last year before a 2-0 defeat to her Monday opponent.
Scott Waites versus Martin Adams is right up there with the best opening ties of this World Darts Championship. Of course, Wolfie isn’t at his world-beating peak now. But he still has a touch of class, as Mark McGeeney found out last year in an opening tie that went the distance. Waites has been runner-up in two of the three majors held in the last 12 months, and desperately wants to take that extra step. It’s a massive banana skin to start things off. The winner of this one plays Harms or Harryson in a cracker of a draw section.
The final tie of the day introduces 2018 World Master Adam Smith-Neale to proceedings. The Englishman’s World Darts Championship debut was derailed by a broken leg – that injury set the Big Dog back at the worst possible time. This could be a good catalyst for further success, though Martijn Kleermaker is an ominous potential Last 16 opponent. Smith-Neale will first have to deal with Paul Hogan, who made a solid start in defeating Brian Raman yesterday. Crocodile Dundee has a bit of momentum, and it could make all the difference against the 10th seed.
BDO World Darts Championship 2020 schedule
Monday, January 6
Afternoon session (from 13:00)
Gabriel Pascaru v Justin Hood (R1)
David Cameron v Nick Fullwell (R1)
Wesley Harms v Andreas Harrysson (R2)
Evening session (from 7 p.m.)
Andy Hamilton v Darren Herewini (R2)
Mikuru Suzuki v Maria O’Brien (R1 women)
Scott Waites v Martin Adams (R2)
Adam Smith-Neale v Paul Hogan (R2)
Author: Ed McCosh